(Image credit: press)

Temporary architecture is in. From elaborate tree houses and gallery annexes to rooftop pods and spaces within spaces, it is no longer considered enough just to hire a marquee when you want to make a spatial statement for a month or two.

Tree houses

(Image credit: press)

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A building form that used to belong to the realm of folly-building eccentrics or young architects out to make a statement has now firmly entered the big league. Take, for example, the roll call of names (Koolhaas, Hadid, Gehry, Niemeyer, Eliasson, Ito, etc) commissioned to create the temporary pavilion outside London’s Serpentine Gallery each year.

Some of the best temporary buildings come from cross-disciplinary collaborations and if the new pavilion for the Kivik Art Centre in Sweden by the British architect David Chipperfield and his artist compatriot Antony Gormley is anything to go by, this is a trend well worth encouraging.

Chipperfield’s sophisticated abstract modernism is blended well with Gormley’s mastery of spatial experimentation to create a building of three interlocking concrete volumes from which visitors can experience the lush surrounding landscape.

Each volume has a different name for a different spatial experience: the ‘cave’ – dark like a forest; the ‘stage’ – a horizontal, painterly landscape experience; and the ‘tower’ – offering spectacular views across to the Baltic Sea. The pavilion is a delightful exercise in landscape-meets-architecture-meets-art that outclasses many a permanent construction. It’s a shame that it's not here to stay.

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).